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Harry and Judy's RV Trip
24th Jul 2015 - Summer 2015
Day 54-July 24, 2015-Hot Springs is COOL!

Day 54-July 24, 2015-Hot Springs, AR is Cool!

Hot and humid-101.

Hot Springs is all about water.  Hot water.  We watched a video at the visitor center and I think this is how it works.  It rains, the water seeps into the ground, down, down, down, getting hotter as it goes through the earth.  When it gets about 8000’ down it rapidly rises so it doesn’t lose much heat. It then seeps up through fissures and comes out at 143 degrees.  They figure that it takes 4400 years to do this so the water we’re drinking now was rain 4400 years ago.  They constantly test it to make sure it’s safe to drink.  Fascinating!

There are eight bath houses left, all in a row on “Bath House Row”.  One is a museum, one a brewery, two are still active bathhouses and one, the Fordyce, is the Visitor Center for the National Park.  It has 23 rooms, all furnished the way they were in their heyday when they were frequented by the rich, the famous and the notorious.  Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel and "friends" came here often.  There’s the Mens Bath, huge and ornate, the Womens Bath, not so huge or ornate, tub rooms, pack rooms, steam rooms and cabinets, cooling rooms, gathering room, gardens on the roof, dressing rooms, whirlpool rooms, massage rooms, staterooms, full gymnasium on the third floor, pool room, beauty parlor, etc., etc.  In the basement is equipment used to cool the water because it’s too hot when it comes in and you can see the spring which is surrounded by quartz.  Hot Springs Creek goes through a tunnel under all of the bath houses.  There are 47 springs in Hot Springs, most covered by big green metal square “lids” to keep them free from contamination.  But there are a few in back of the bath houses where you can sample the water and see it come up through the mountains.  It’s HOT!, too hot to even put your hand in.  There are “jug fountains” around town where you can fill up jugs and we bought a few gallon jugs and filled them.  Water, water, everywhere….and it’s free.  The city of Hot Springs National Park is kind of in a “bowl” with the visitor center and bath houses in the valley and mountains all around.  This valley has been called the “valley of vapors” because of the vapor coming up from all the springs.  It’s too hot now to see the vapor but in the winter it must be a sight to see.  One side of the street is “Bath House Row” and the other side is all shops and restaurants, a wax museum, gangster museum, duck tours, etc.  A huge building sits up on a hill. It used to be an Army/Navy hospital after the civil war but now it’s a rehab and retraining building facility.  One the other end of town is the Arlington Hotel, looming above the city. Other historic hotels and buildings are all through town. We brought lunch but split a panini and a beer (made with hot spring water) at the Brewery that was the Superior Bath House and then walked around town.

We drove up a windy one-way road to the Mountain Observation Tower, went up an elevator 216’ for a great view of the city below.  This too is in the National Park and there are many trails through the woods, one leading to the other side of the stream (I found out it’s the Gulpha Creek) in the campground.

Back down the mountain, we went to the other winery in town but they also only had sweet wines.  Went back to the casino to try our luck again, but luck was not ours today.  Back to the RV for dinner and a quiet night.

Next: Day 55-July 25, 2015-Last Day in Hot Springs
Previous: Day 53-July 23, 2015-Hot Springs, AR

Diary Photos

Steam cabinets

Mens bath

Needle shower

Sitz bath, steam cabinet, tub

Mens parlor

Womens parlor



Tub with lift

Mens dressing room

Harry getting a drink

Spings and pools

Bath House Row

Us at spring


View from tower

Architecture in town

Al...need I say more

Jug Fountain

Harry filling jugs

Covered springs


Road to tower

Statue in town

Diary Movies

Mountain Tower video

Spring on Arlington Hotel lawn

Springs video

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